New Books for 8/7/19

You may have noticed that the booklist posted late last week. I usually put this together on Thursday and set it to publish on Friday and something went wrong last week. No idea what or why but from now on I am just going to post this as soon as I’m done putting it together.

If you are a subscriber and I have your email address you should have gotten an automated email the past few weeks with the list of books you have coming in along with a list of EVERYTHING that came in. If you’re looking closely you will notice that the booklist I post here has fewer items than the one in the email. That’s because I don’t put the items that were special order only on this list. I sent the other list by accident and got some feedback that even if I don’t have the items in stock it is helpful to know that they exist so I am going to keep that as well.

Before we get to the list here are a few more reviews by Joshua Clinton. I am really enjoying them and I hope you are too!

Green Lantern Annual #1
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Guiseppi Camuncolli

If you’re unfamiliar with Grant Morrison, just know that most of his work will consist of the strangest stories you’ve ever read. When his stories make sense, they’re some of the best comics have ever seen. But when they don’t, it can still be the funnest thing you’ve read all week. Personally, the latter how I’ve felt about the majority of his run on GL. This doesn’t have to be a negative though, as Grant Morrison’s style of writing fits the format of an annual perfectly. A one-off story that feels completely out of left field and can be read independently of the series it’s a part of. Funnily enough, that’s what most of Grant Lantern has felt like. It’s beneficial then that this Annual brings along a different artist. Liam Sharp may quite possibly have trumped Frank Quietly as the definitive artist for translating Grant’s LSD-soaked mind to the page. However, this installment brings Giuseppe Camuncolli on board; if you’ve read his work on Amazing Spider-Man or Marvel’s Star Wars books, you’ll find his to be some of the cleanest on any title. Looser linework seems to be the name of the game this time around, but that proves beneficial to this story.
What’s the story you may ask? Aliens invade Hal’s family reunion, and he teams up with his nephew Hal Jordan Jr. to fend them off. The series of events are a little all over the place, with radical plot elements like another dimension inside Hal’s Uncle’s basement being introduced and (seemingly) dropped with (seemingly) no explanation whatsoever. But, as is the case with many things Morrison, that’s fine as long as the ride is worthwhile. And having a radio wave environmentalist that’s sick of shitty pop music polluting his airwaves be defeated by Hal inciting typical family drama is so absurd that it’s well worth it.

You’ll have to read the issue yourself to parse what I just said. I had to re-read it at least three times to get the gist of it, so I’d say you will get your money’s worth on this one!

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #9
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artists: Ken Lashley &Juan Cabal

It’s genuinely difficult to say which Spider-Man book is the best these days. Between Nick Spencer giving Petey his relatable, JMS-era groove back in ASM, Zdarsky giving JJJ one of the best arcs in recent years on his Spectacular run, and Saladin Ahmed’s Miles Morales book proving to be a fantastic successor to where Bendis left off, Tom Taylor may actually be topping them all! Between wholesome moments of Spidey helping out his friendly neighborhood and making readers everywhere cry with the debut of Spider-Bite in issue #6, he’s begun to flesh out one of the most interesting newcomers to his run: The Rumor!

In the first arc of Taylor’s run, Peter’s elderly neighbor Marnie turns out to be a super-powered badass called The Rumor. Spidey ends up teaming up with her to save a family of aliens that were on the run from a bigwig orange alien who lived in a secret penthouse under NYC (yes, this is a reference to what you think it is). This month’s issue delves into her backstory, where we learn that during WWII, she was Japan’s answer to Captain America. Upon emigration to the U.S. in ‘41, she teamed up with Cap and Bucky and proceeded to punch Nazis repeatedly for the next two years. Unfortunately, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, she was detained by the U.S. government along with half of the American japanese population. Thankfully, Cap was a decent enough person to take her there personally as one of her best friends, where she assures him that she’d rather go quietly than outrun him. Her people would need a strong individual like her with them, rather than on a battlefield in Berlin.

Marnie has been one of the best parts of Taylor’s run, and I genuinely hope that after he inevitably leaves the book, she won’t fade into obscurity like many other side characters. With Greg Pak’s recent run on Agents of A.T.L.A.S. (a.k.a. Asian Avengers) being a major push for Asian characters in Marvel, Marnie would be a great inclusion that could potentially add something unique to that group dynamic. At the very least, let her show up in Zdarsky’s Invaders series! Everything I love to see in a comic was on display in this week’s issue. A story with heart that smartly draws parallels to real life from fiction, upheld by dynamic, colorful artwork, and with just the perfect amount of spidey-quips and visual humor.

House of X #1 and Powers of X #1

House of X#1
Writer: Jon Hickman
Artist: Pepe Laraz

With House and Powers of X, strap in for what might be the wildest fictional ride you will ever go on. Hickman is no stranger to high-concept science fiction, and both of these mini-series kick off with a BANG that will set up the next seminal era of the X-Men comics.

House of X #1 introduces what may be the ideal situation for the modern X-Men to be in. Mutantkind is happily living on the Utopian Island of Kraoka, the mutant population is booming with the potential to overtake homo-sapiens, and Charles and Magneto have united forces. What’s most interesting about the X-Men’s place in the world presently is that they’ve developed a plant that can not only be used as a cure-all for human diseases, but also extend the life of a human by 5 years. Insofar it appears to be used as an effective olive branch with homo-sapiens. Any scenario that begins with our heroes figuring out a solution to more or less all of their problems intrigues me, because it feels like it has to inevitably return to the status quo. But even if it does, it’s clearly part of the plan, as Powers of X will explain.

Some final notes on House #1: this book also featured satellites made from Sentinel heads, pages upon pages of maps and ESSENTIAL world-building materials, a delightful cameo by the FF (I never thought I’d see Hickman write them again, if only briefly), and the debut of O.R.C.H.I.S., the world-spanning secret organization that is made up of other established secret organizations across the Marvel U. Where will this go? Only the four timelines we’re following will tell!

Powers of X #1
Writer: Jon Hickman
Artist: R.B. Silva

Pre-emptive note: the ‘X’ in this title is read as ‘ten’. Okay, If you’ve read S.H.I.E.L.D.: Architects of Forever by Hickman and Weaver (and more importantly if you read the recent conclusion published 8 years later), you know that multiple timelines and concurrent realities are his bread and butter. You’d expect time travel to eventually make its way into most X-men runs at one point or another, but FOUR TIMELINES being presented right off the bat is more than even long-time Hickman fans would expect. They’re presented as X^0: X-Men Year 1, X^1: X-Men Year 10, X^1: Year 100, and X^3: Year 1000. One could assume the exponents have something to do with the title being read as “Powers of Ten”, but I can’t math for beans, so that’s up to the internet to figure out.

Year Zero: Charles Xavier is on two feet and searching for other mutants.
Year Ten*: The “current” stories seen in House of X #1.
Year One Hundred: Cross-bred mutants fighting off an alien invasion led by a redesigned Nimrod.
Year One-Thousand:All prior conflicts seem to have ceased, with the Shi’ Ar having seemingly replicated the garden of Eden.

These two books have gotten me more excited than any comic I’ve read in the last year. Hickman’s brand of long-form, high-concept science fiction is what I crave in any artistic medium, and this era of Hick-Men has the potential to be his greatest yet. This is the kind of book I want to pick up right when the shop opens, read it cover to cover twice over, and then spend the next hour theorizing what’s coming next with the staff. Don’t sleep on either of these mini-series; if you’ve missed one, don’t worry. Marvel has already prepared second printings of both for your local comic shop.

*Yes, just pretend that all of the relevant X-men history happened in 10 years.

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